WPX Energy announced Monday that its Niobrara Shale discovery well in the Piceance Basin exceeded 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas production in just over 100 days of operation.
At this rate, WPX expects the Niobrara well to produce in its first four months what a typical well in the Piceance Basin's Williams Fork formation produces over its estimated lifecycle of 25 to 30 years.
The Niobrara well is located on WPX's acreage in Western Colorado, where the company has the lease rights to approximately 180,000 net acres of the Niobrara/Mancos shale play.
The discovery well initially produced 16 million cubic feet per day at a flowing pressure of 7,300 pounds per square inch. It registered an average production rate of almost 10 million cubic feet per day over its first 90 days, despite being choked back substantially.
"We're very pleased with what we're seeing," said Ralph A. Hill, WPX's president and chief executive officer. "This well is demonstrating tremendous strength. It's a large discovery that has significant upside potential for creating shareholder value."
Over time, WPX believes that its Niobrara discovery has the potential to more than double the company's proved, probable and possible (3P) reserves, which were approximately 18 trillion cubic feet at year-end 2012.
WPX started drilling its second Niobrara well Wednesday, April 3. The company expects to begin completion activities in June.
As previously announced, WPX plans to drill a total of four horizontal Niobrara wells in 2013. The drilling plan is designed to prove up adjacent acreage and test the repeatability of the play on additional acreage the company owns.
WPX already has extensive processing and takeaway capacity under contract in the Piceance to support Niobrara production.
The Niobrara and Mancos shales are generally located at depths of 10,000 to 13,000 feet. The Williams Fork is a shallower formation, generally located at depths of 6,000 to 9,000 feet. In the Piceance Basin, WPX holds an average working interest of 66 percent in the Niobrara and Mancos shales.
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